By Chris Parkin

First focal plane scopes aren’t new but it’s somewhat of a buzzword now as “FFP” has not only become the preferred optic to shoot across multiple distance formats, but that popularity has been adopted by scope manufacturers at all price points. First focal plane offers a huge factor of simplicity as use of the reticle to `measure` targets for rangefinding or holdover aimpoints, is thoroughly logical without any possibility of making a mistake using incorrect magnification setting, the drawback of the second focal plane optical system. Just to clarify, it’s quite easy to tell the difference as when you increase magnification on an FFP optic, the reticle, as well as the image gets bigger, both remain in perfect proportion. On a “2FP” scope, the reticle remains constant in size as the target gets larger so it no longer portrays a truly proportionate image. Neither is better than the other and there are many scenarios where 2FP holds advantages but critically, neither is at a loss in the others’ `territory`, just slightly less intuitive.

Element’s top of the range Nexus scope adopts the common 5-25 magnification range seen across military and police optics that virtually set the trend and it is a great compromise because with reticle size altering, it’s important that it’s never too small or too large. This would possibly obscure too much of the image so the 5x zoom range has long been seen as optimum. A 50mm objective lens strikes a great daylight combination remaining compact with bright image quality at the head of the matt, hard anodised 30mm body tube. A neoprene cover is supplied along with 100mm sunshade, Allen keys, a clip-on lens cloth and additional throw lever for the zoom control.

The central spherical saddle supports elevation above, windage to the right and left side parallax dial, engraved with white lettering from 10m to infinity which makes it suitable for any rifle type. The outer tip of the parallax dial offers control of the illuminated reticle, intensity settings from 1 to 10 illuminating the central crucifix area of the internal reticle. Both elevation and windage turrets offer 10mm@100m clicks or 0.1 mRad for adjustment of zero and multi range shooting. There are a very logical 100 clicks per turn, segregated into 10 mRad clocks on the 30mm diameter dial that shows neatly machined knurling for grip with fingertips or gloves. Once initially zeroed, the upper cap unscrews, allowing the engraved collar to lift off, realigned and slotted back down to mark zero setting for your preferred range. If you want to use the zero stop, when the collar is off, use the supplied Allen key to slacken the three circumferential recessed grub screw in the black collar and follow the detailed instruction book to set your zero stop. Any zero-stop prevents descent `below`, ensuring it’s impossible to get `lost` in the elevation range when constantly changing shooting distance. A vernier scale is engraved to indicate which turn you are within of the overall travel. Windage is similarly adjusted yet the collar is marked left and right of centre for logical dialled windage corrects. Remember, being FFP, all these corrections/clicks correspond precisely with the markings on the reticle within, so whether you aim off or dial off, the result is identical in terms of correction applied. I was using the mRad version of the scope but it’s also available in Minutes of Angle (M.O.A.) if you prefer. Maximum elevation range is 23.2 mRad (80 M.O.A.) with 14.5 mRad (50 M.O.A.) available for windage correction.

With 55mm in front and 60mm or parallel tube space surrounding the scope saddle, there is plenty of real estate to mount scope rings and perfect your chosen position to suit the maximum 93mm eye relief, making this a versatile scope regardless of action size or gun type. Rearward is a well segmented zoom collar with smooth motion and no backlash, adjusted using similarly knurled throw lever supplied. This screws in place of the grub screw, removable with supplied Allen key. Mounting any kind of rear night vision add-on is no problem as the ocular body is parallel in profile at 42mm diameter with 37mm lens within surrounded by the rearmost fast focus eyepiece. This corrects the dioptre for your own eyesight, easily acquiring a crisp reticle image that is retained throughout the zoom range.

The reticle on the mRad offering is well explained in the manual and strikes me as all I need, with nothing too `busy` in my field of view that obscures fall of shot or existing bullet holes. The small central floating dot is ideal for precision aiming when shooting small or circular targets yet the larger hash markings, applied in 0.5 mrad spacings with larger 2 mRad stages and broader arms at the extremes make for a great long-range aiming solution. I’m not too much of a fan of endless tiny supposedly `super precision` markings, that are realistically hard to see and don’t forget, as the reticle changes in size on an FFP scope, a balance has to be, and is here, well struck between disappearing on low magnification yet not obscuring too much image at full 25x. Element have specified size and complexity well here in my opinion. Being illuminated makes it easier to use in daylight at low mag in more point and shoot scenarios yet at full magnification when precision shooting, you can see a broad 19 mRad field of view for target acquisition and precision shooting at any distance.

I fitted the scope to a few rifles throughout it’s time with me and found no real gaps in its capability. The eyebox remained easily accessible and the image bright, with clearly etched reticle always remaining in sharp focus, no need to alter the rear dioptre control after initial set up. Clicks were crisp and with 100 per turn, made mental arithmetic intuitive when shooting longer distances. Recoil on the centrefires was no problem, eye relief was sufficient to avoid contact with 308 sporting rifle recoil levels to control. Switched to an air rifle, the scope literally was in its “element” with reliable, repetitive dialling capability allowing confident engagement to ranges time after time from the DOPE chart I produced. Performance in poor light will always be a function of maximum magnification and objective lens size, so any 50mm objective scope is never going to be an ultimate last light hunting optic, but image degradation was linear, with no distinguishable steps in the diminishing image quality as light faded. Colour rendition was very good, and the sunshade was useful for decreasing sun angles as Autumn encroaches although you do have to remove it to use the supplied neoprene protector. These are great though as turrets not only get scratched in transit, and can also easily mark other guns, certainly timber stocks in your safe, no matter how careful you feel you are being.

The magnification collar control had solid stops at either end of travel with no internal mechanical noise evident in the smooth transit along the internal helical lens package carriers. Element’s scopes seem to have been well directed into their price points yet without visible external compromise. It is good to see the slightly brighter image on the top of the range Nexus and quite specifically, improved colour resolution and precise detail definition, with backlash free focus and parallax control enabled with the left side parallax dial. It’s a scope I’m happy using and it continues in its place on the FX Crown air rifle that similarly suits my personal likes and preferences. For a less experienced user wanting more mechanical functionality from their optic, the instruction manual is clear, and not too small. It’s full of crisp colour images within and when it comes to turret setup, where lots of optics vary, it’s good to see Element not skim over explanation of detail to their consumers.


Magnification Range 5-20x
Tube Diameter 30mm
Objective Lens Diameter 50mm
Exit Pupil 8-2.5mm
Eye Relief 77-93mm
Field Of View @100yds: 23.3-5.8 Ft @100m: 7.8-1.9m
Click Value 1/4 Moa (20 Moa / Rev) 1/10 Mrad (10 Mrad / Rev)
Elevation Adjustment Range 80 Moa 23.2 Mrad
Windage Adjustment Range 50 Moa 14.5 Mrad
Minimum Parallax 10 Yds 10 Meters
Length 13.8” 350mm
Weight 28oz 794gr


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Photo Captions

  1. Element Optics Nexus 5-20x50 FFP Riflescope
  2. Element Optics Nexus 5-20x50 FFP Riflescope (9)
  3. Parallax goes all the way down to 10 metres making the scope usable on all rifle types
  4. Fast Focus eyepiece for clear reticle subtension
  5. Thro lever and zoom control
  6. Windage turret engraved left and right of centre zero point
  7. Stretch neoprene cover is supplied along with all Allen keys needed and a lens cloth
  8. 100mm sunshade was great in difficult light conditions
  9. Elevation cap removed showing zero-stop
  10. Excellent instruction book and reticle subtension diagrams are supplied
  11. Illumination on, low magnification
  12. Illumination off, high magnification